Ohio Wines - The Winery at Wolf Creek
One of the most beautiful places to have a picnic or a gathering for a party is at The Winery at Wolf Creek located in Norton, OH, southwest of Akron. This is a bit of Europe in northeast Ohio. I first discovered this winery when I was married and living in Norton. My husband and I, on a lark one day, stopped in to check out the winery and were pleasantly surprised when we did some wine tasting. To our surprise, the wines were quite good and best of all we ran into our next door neighbors. The four of us had a wonderful time that day, tasting wines and enjoying the beautiful fields, vineyards and large lake at the foot of the summit.
Until discovering this winery, nearly in our backyard, I did not know much about Ohio wines. Over time and trying Wolf Creek's different wines, I began to respect the grapes and wine produced in my own home state.
Ohio has a long history of growing grapes, producing wines, and selling them in the U.S. and even Europe. Wine production in Ohio began in 1825, by Nicholas Longworth, who planted the first Catawba grapes in Ohio. His winery was located near Cincinnati in the Ohio River Valley in southern Ohio.
By 1860, the Catawba grape was the most important grape variety in Ohio. At this time in Ohio's history, Ohio produced more wine than any other state in the country and Cincinnati became the most important city in the national wine trade. When Prohibition was enacted it destroyed the Ohio wine industry and the Ohio producers have struggled over the years to recover from it.
The Catawba grape is mostly found today throughout the Midwest and Eastern U.S. It is believed to have originated somewhere on the east coast between Maryland and the Carolinas. It is considered a "red wine" grape but it is used to make rose and white wines as well. It is a late-ripening variety and it embodies a musky flavor and makes a medium bodied wine that is dry to semi-dry.
Because of Ohio's history of wine making, there are now approximately 110 commercial wineries in Ohio, and many are located in northeast and north central Ohio, The Winery at Wolf Creek being one of them. Today, many of the Ohio wineries have branched out and have planted more grape varieties than just the Catawba grape, as The Winery at Wolf Creek has done.
The Winery at Wolf Creek
The Winery at Wolf Creek was founded in 1980 by Andrew Wineberg on the property of his parents, Melvin and Harriet Wineberg. The first vineyard at the winery contained the following grape varieties: Caruga White, Segval, Vignoles, Dechaunac, Chancellor, Leon Merlot and Vidal.
In 1984 the winery's original cellar was blasted into the rocky hillside and a bar, two barrels and one picnic table were installed. The Winery was open for business! Over the years it has grown and added estate grown wines and has physically enlarged the building. There is a lovely inside tasting room with table and chairs which is air conditioned. The bar has been enlarged for wine tasting and it offers many snack foods and cheese baskets to accompany the different wines.
Outside, is a wraparound wooden deck with picnic tables and with canvas overhangs overhead ( it rains frequently in Ohio) and lovely grounds with picnic tables for picnics. They have also added a party room for private wine tastings and parties. Customers usually bring their own food to eat with the wines. Only Winery wines are permitted on site.
In 1985, The Wolf Creek Winery sold its first bottle of wine and a total of three wines were released that year: Seyva, Vignoles and Sweet Revenge. The winery has continued to grow and has added more wines and grape varieties each year. It has added estate grown wines in the last few years.
The ambiance here is wonderful. It is a quiet place to meet with friends, open a bottle of wine, eat some appetizers or a picnic lunch/dinner and just enjoy the beautiful grounds and atmosphere. It is a friendly gathering place and no one becomes loud, rowdy, or drunk. It reminds me of the European wineries I visited while living in Germany.
Sadly, Andrew Wineberg died in 2000. But, the winery was purchased by long-time vineyard manager Andy Troutman and his wife, Deanna in June 2002. They have expanded the production and vineyard acreage and a selection of mostly Ohio-grown wines. Much of the original hillside vineyards have been replanted with European grape varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat and Pinot Noir.
The Troutman's also own Troutman Vineyards Winery in Wooster, OH that specializes in estate and locally grown grapes.
Goats are also kept on the premises and homemade cheese is made from their milk and sold at the wine tasting room. It is delicious to have with their wines.
This is a charming, elegant winery great for people of all ages. It is a quiet, reserved place to enjoy an afternoon or evening under the stars sipping a favorite wine. For those who wish non-alcoholic beverages there are bottled waters, juices, and sodas available.
Events at The Winery at Wolf Creek
- The Winery is open seven days a week and year round.
- The first Saturday of the month between the months of December to July, there are cellar wine tours at 11 am. Four samples of selected wines are offered. The winery asks for pre-registration and pre-payment. The cost is $5 per person and there is a minimum of ten persons for a tour to take place.
- Live music - guitar, sax, blues, americana, singers / songwriters on various evenings at the winery.
- Cooking with Wine series held in the months of November to June once a month. Jim Reynolds is the demonstrator. Wine adds flavor and depth to dishes as an ingredient or alongside a meal. He teaches the perfect pairing of wine with food. He gives live demonstrations with samples to taste and a collection of recipes to take home.
Copyright (c) all text and photos 2013 Suzannah Wolf Walker all rights reserved
Wines of The Winery at Wolf Creek
Red / rose wines
Chardonnay - crisp and fruity dry wine
Cabernet Franc - medium-bodied, estate grown dry wine - lightly oaked
Blue - semi-dry Blueberry wine with a hint of tartness
Pinot gris - light bodied dry wine - aromas of citrus fruit
Cabernet Sauvignon - rich full-bodied dry red. Aged in American Oak
Original Sin - sweet apple wine - blend of Ohio grown grapes
Rhapsody - German style semi-sweet white wine - Ohio grown Vidal Blanc grapes
Exodus - medium-bodied dry red - Marechal Foch grapes. Intense berry aromas and aged with French oak
Space Cowboy - sweet and fruity wine made from ripe peaches
Vignoles - semi-sweet estate-grown white wine - aromas of tropical fruit
Nouveau - young light fruity semi-dry red - estate grown Leon Merlot grapes
White Lies - fruity sweet wine - Wolf Creek Delaware grapes
Redemption - light sweet red - French blend hybrid grapes
Sweet Revenge - sweet rose - blend of Seyval Blac and red French hybrid grapes
Syrah - medium-bodied fruity dry red with aromas of berries